I’m a writer, researcher, and longtime internet person with ties to UX and design. I’ve mostly worked in journalism, publishing, and tech, the latter of which also let me work with clients in government, basic science, and the cultural/museum world.

I build things that help; I synthesize and help people understand complex data and ideas; I lead teams and projects over weird terrain; I try to leave things better than I found them.

Projects & work

I think it’s impossible to understand the present—and work toward better futures—if we don’t understand our recent past. So I spent the late summer and fall of 2023 researching and writing a series of posts trying to assemble a more complete picture of what Facebook/Meta actually did in Myanmar in the years before and during the genocide of the Rohingya people; it’s a lot worse than most people realized at the time.

Right now, I’m working with Darius Kazemi on research into governance and administration on the fediverse. Our project is funded by the Digital Infrastructure Insights Fund and I’ve written about it, kind of, here. (Darius has an actual project summary up on his site.) This research is part of a larger attempt to understand the cultural-technical realities of decentralized networks in the present, which makes up most of what I write about on this site.

My previous big online project was the COVID Tracking Project at The Atlantic, a crisis public-data project that channeled the efforts of hundreds of devoted volunteers—and eventually a staff of nearly 30 people—to assemble, distribute, and explain a comprehensive, transparently sourced national covid dataset when US government agencies proved unable to do so. I co-founded the project and, with Alexis Madrigal, led it for the first year of the pandemic in the US.

This video is probably the best distillation of that work, which reached millions of people, informed two successive executive administrations, and helped journalists, researchers, congressional committees, and regular humans understand what actually happened in the pandemic’s first year.

I wrote a little bit about how we built and ran the organization through the peak of the crisis. I’m proud of what we did.

Previously, I spent five years working with a tiny team to build out OpenNews, an organization launched from the Knight Foundation and Mozilla Foundation to run community events and publish documentation that helped data journalists, designers, and reporters connect up across organizational boundaries and do better work by collaborating instead of competing.

As OpenNews’ editorial lead, I founded and edited Source, a publication devoted to building cross-org knowledge, community, and relationships for technologists in newsrooms, and I was also a core member of the event-running team that launched and produced the popular—and I think unusually humane—SRCCON series of conferences.

Before and between and after those projects, I’ve worked as an editorial strategist independently and within studios like HUGE, Happy Cog, and Brain Traffic to lead content/editorial work for clients including the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, Brookhaven National Laboratories, W.W. Norton, and Thomson Reuters, usually leading editorial and content strategy as part of integrated UX and design/development teams.

Publishing & publications

Back in the day, I dropped out of grad school to write a kinda-technical book, and I’ve edited books for various tech presses on and off for a couple of decades. I was co-founder and co-editor of Contents magazine—and, for many years, the editor-in-chief of A List Apart magazine, where lots of people learned to make better websites.

A couple of things:

Why I’m here

I care about online networks and spaces because I care about what they can do for—and to—the humans who inhabit them. I focus on the internet because I know from wrenching personal experience that, handled correctly, it can help us find each other and do the work necessary for our collective survival.


Type & system

This site is set in Matthew Butterick’s Valkyrie and Heliotrope and runs on Blot.